A well structured email marketing campaign can be one of the most useful and cost effective marketing tools you have at your disposal. However in order to be able to market you first of all need a list of people to market to.

Before we go on to giving you tips to build a list, it’s important to briefly mention a couple of things you that you really don’t want to do.

email-marketing-columnFirstly you need to build an ‘opt in’ email marketing list. This is a list of people who have agreed that they want to receive details about offers, products and services from you. This being the case you should only ever market to these people. It’s not a good idea to send emails to people on your list who haven’t ever opted in because it’s classed as spam and is the quickest way to get youremail marketing campaign shut down before it gets off the ground.

Secondly it is possible to purchase lists of people, or you can even borrow lists. However this again isn’t the best idea as many people on these lists have either changed email addresses, or no longer wish to receive emails. By building your own email marketing list, it may take time, but it will definitely pay off in the long run.

So that’s what you shouldn’t do, now here’s what you should do in order to build an extensive list

Tip 1 – Simply ask for their details

Every time you communicate with prospects, whether this is through meetings, networking events or daily business, always ask for their email address. People are far more inclined to give away email addresses than they would say a phone number, so if you don’t ask you don’t get.

Tip 2 – Create an opt-in form on your site

A great way to build your list is to create an opt-in form on your site where they can receive specific information, offers, services or promotions that aren’t always available to those that don’t opt in. It could be in the form of a newsletter, a free e-book, or 10% off promotions on special items. Whatever it is make sure it adds real value and most importantly give it away. Remember people don’t like to be sold too straight away. For an email marketing campaign to truly work, you firstly have to build a subscriber list based on trust, value and relationships.

Tip 3 – Give away a report, E-book or white-paper

Tip 2 talks about adding value and building relationships. Well a great way to do this is to is to give away an e-book or report in exchange for their email address. They can be based around important factors that are happening in your industry, or insider hints and tips that a potential customer might need to know. If you aren’t confident at doing it yourself or you simply don’t have the time, there are plenty of experienced people who will be able to write it for you.

Tip 4 – Include ‘forwarding friends’ links in you email marketing

When you compile a newsletter it’s a really good idea to include ‘forward to friends’ links within the newsletter. This way a reader can do exactly this and pass it on, especially if it’s something of value that will resonate with them and their friends. It’s recommended to put the links into two places. The first being the top right hand corner of the letter and the second being at the very bottom near your signature. In addition always include a text box where a reader can write a personal message to their friends telling them why they’ve forwarded it on.

Tip 5 – Running a competition

A great way to capture email addresses is to run a competition or contest. People love to enter contests, especially if they think that there is something of value at the end of it. This is where you can really get creative and it doesn’t have to cost you the earth either. Advertise the contest on your blog, website, or social media channels alongside an opt in box to capture email addresses.

Once you have a good idea of all the different ways in which you can collate email addresses and deploy some or all of these techniques, it’s possible to build up a substantial list of people in a short space of time. This is the basis upon which your email marketing campaign should be used.

For further tips on how to build an effective email list then why not sign up for a free trial with Constant Contact and receive WSI’s Free Email Marketing guide. It’s packed full of hints and tips to help you with your email marketing campaignClick here for more details.